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Arggg - 4th cutting grasshay, okay for horses? I presume not?

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  • Arggg - 4th cutting grasshay, okay for horses? I presume not?

    Pfff, my unknowing husband, (knows little about hay) came home yesterday with 50 bales of 4th cutting grass hay from our local farmer. He thought is was really nice hay, coz the bales are bouncy, as good as dustfree, looks well cured, smells ever so sweet, is green, weedfree etc......

    But it's 4th cutting
    I gave a handfull to the horses and they devoured it in seconds.

    However I have always been in the understanding that horses should only get 1st & 2nd cutting hay and anything above that is for cows?

    Is that correct?
    Would soaking this nice but 4th cutting grasshay make it any safer for horses & mixing it say 30 - 70% with something else? Or should I just throw it out?

    Thanks.

  • #2
    I would think that 4th would be no different from 2nd, or 3rd - and boy are you lucky to have that many cuttings!

    First cut is stemmier and coarser and many people do not like to feed it - it can be less nutritious if it was cut late (because it's begun to dry out and go to seed and stalks have less nutrition than leaves) or more prone to molds if they got greedy and tried to cut it early when it was too wet to cure. Some air-ferns have to eat first cut or they balloon to elephant status.

    If the hay is good quality and the horses like it it doesn't matter which cutting it is.

    Now, if you got 4th cutting, say, in VT in late October and it got snowed on, then probably no, you wouldn't want to buy that.

    (and yes, that's happened, but the farm was huge enough that the hay was consumed before anything spoiled)

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    • #3
      I've never had any problems with it, except sometimes you get bales with lots of leaves in them.

      Comment


      • #4
        Certain parts of the country are lucky this year to get a 4th cutting. Here in the S.E., that doesn't happen too often due to the climate. As long as it was cut before it became too mature, the hay is probably good quality. It's always nice to have an analysis done on it but not every hay grower does one. I would definitely feed a 4th cutting to my horses if I were ever lucky enough to be able to buy it. Usually it means less weeds in it and you get hay just as nice as 3rd cutting. So don't be too mad at your hubby.
        Susan N.

        Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.

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        • #5
          [quote]
          Originally posted by Lieslot View Post
          the bales are bouncy, as good as dustfree, looks well cured, smells ever so sweet, is green, weedfree etc......
          Sounds like very nice horse hay!

          However I have always been in the understanding that horses should only get 1st & 2nd cutting hay and anything above that is for cows?

          Is that correct?
          I have never heard that hay is deemed for cows simply based on the cutting. It's based on the quality of the hay. Horses need higher quality and very clean hay. 2nd, 3rd and 4th cuttings oftentimes are beautiful horse hay.
          I have never fed 4th cutting but fed a very green, leafy 3rd cutting for several winters when I had my horses home and they LOVED it. Unlike with 1st cutting there was virtually no waste.

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          • #6
            The only thing he did wrong was not to get 400 Bales or your entire year's supply ~ !

            You are very lucky ~ Enjoy ~ try to get some more ~ IMHO
            Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "

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            • #7
              I'd just expect it to have more food value than a lot of other hays, and adjust the grain ration accordingly. In other words, if you feed your normal amount you might see your horses mysteriously gaining weight.

              I have easy keepers, so I feed a clean first-cutting timothy as the bulk of the hay. It's kind of like popcorn--gives them something to chew on and metabolizing all that fiber keeps them warm in winter, but it's fairly low calorie. For older horses and harder keepers, I prefer feeding 2nd, 3rd, or 4th (if you can get it) for the main ration since it's a lot less stemmy and coarse and, if the quality is good, each bale will have a lot more food value.
              ---------------------------

              Comment


              • #8
                I am hoping to get 4th cut off my 3-4 fields in the next week and I have people lined up to buy whatever I dont want. ALl horse people too!

                My horses LOVE the 3rd cut they are getting now, and I have 1st, 2nd and 3rd cut to choose from to give to them

                I wont give the 3rd and 4th cut to the piggies that are already rotund but the thinner ones, the harder keepers, the young stock - they will all get the 3rd and 4th cut and the easier ones get the 1st and 2nd cut
                www.TrueColoursFarm.com
                www.truecoloursproducts.com

                True Colours Farm on Facebook

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                • #9
                  Husband should have gotten a big "ATTA BOY!" and a kiss!! What a nice guy.

                  I would agree with all the other remarks about 4th cut grass hay being excellent horse hay. We are not going to get any 4th and some of the third is sparse in the fields.

                  First around here, even cut early or on time, is going to contain weeds. Second is much improved, few weeds, and if cut on time, is just nice leaves. Third would be much the same, should have almost no weeds, probably shorter, heavier leaf growth, but not the length found in second cut.

                  Cutting other types of forage for hay, your typical first will again have weed growth, might be stemmier with plants trying to get tall early. Energy of plant goes into height, not leaves. Second cutting, usually alfalfa will be more leafy, less stemmy if cut on time. And same field, third cut, will be even leafier than before, though you probably would not get as many bales from it as you did on first or second cuts.

                  Cutting the plants made into hay, keeps them from gaining height, so energy is in the leaves, feeding the roots for survival.

                  How much nutrition, digestablity, can vary from each kind of forage plant in the hay and when it was cut. Horse digestablity can vary from animal to animal, with age a big factor. Grasses against alfalfa is not going to come out equal in nutrition provided. You pick each for a reason. Tamara is the best expert on hay types and who uses what! Her hays are tested so she can give you EXACT answers. I always loved her answer about cow hay previously, so MANY kinds! Choosing depends mostly on what cow is being used for!!

                  I would be very happy with the gift 50 bales, check fast to see if farmer had any more to put in my barn!! 4th cut flake could be the whip cream on my 2nd cut feeding hay.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TrueColours View Post
                    I wont give the 3rd and 4th cut to the piggies that are already rotund but the thinner ones, the harder keepers, the young stock - they will all get the 3rd and 4th cut and the easier ones get the 1st and 2nd cut
                    This. And the one picky hay eater I have prefers the good stuff. Now I don't see much use (for me) for wicked high quality 4th cutting dairy alfalfa, but I'm all over 3rd and 4th cutting grass!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kcmel View Post
                      I've never had any problems with it, except sometimes you get bales with lots of leaves in them.
                      ...and that's bad..why? The leaves are the nutrition. Having hay that is all/mostly stemmy tends to be too high in indigestible fiber.

                      Sure, it's not for the easier keepers, it's probably closer to alfalfa in that context. But it can be great for harder keepers

                      If it concerns you, take samples from 10-12 bales and have your local County Extension agency (usually faster than sending off, not always) test them so you can see the DE (digestible energy), protein, and other mineral profiles. You can also use www.dairyone.com or www.equi-analytical.com It may also be worth having starch, WSC and ESC tested so you know the NSC value - too high and you will want to be careful
                      ______________________________
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think she probably means tree leaves. Guy who used to supply our hay had trees surrounding his hay field and hay cut late in the season would include dropped leaves in some bales.
                        You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Lieslot View Post
                          Pfff, my unknowing husband, (knows little about hay) came home yesterday with 50 bales of 4th cutting grass hay from our local farmer. He thought is was really nice hay, coz the bales are bouncy, as good as dustfree, looks well cured, smells ever so sweet, is green, weedfree etc......

                          But it's 4th cutting
                          I gave a handfull to the horses and they devoured it in seconds.

                          However I have always been in the understanding that horses should only get 1st & 2nd cutting hay and anything above that is for cows?

                          Is that correct?
                          Would soaking this nice but 4th cutting grasshay make it any safer for horses & mixing it say 30 - 70% with something else? Or should I just throw it out?

                          Thanks.
                          throw it out ? really? run an $18 test on it and find out all the things out want to know about it


                          Tamara in TN
                          Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                          I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by goodhors
                            Husband should have gotten a big "ATTA BOY!" and a kiss!! What a nice guy.
                            Originally posted by Zu Zu
                            The only thing he did wrong was not to get 400 Bales or your entire year's supply ~ !
                            Big OUPS, I'd better apologize to my husband for my earlier angry moods.
                            Seems he knows more about hay than I thought I did myself.

                            Thanks everyone, I'm feeling better about it now. I'll call Rutgers on monday to see if I can take some to be tested, else I'll try the links JB listed, to see if I need to mix it or not.
                            Tamara, I didn't realize a testing is that cheap.

                            It definitely looks & smells like the perfect hay, I don't know where I had that idea from that higher cuttings were no good.
                            So glad to read it'll probably work out. I hate being stuck with wrong hay, not only the money lost, but mostly the 'how to get rid of it'.

                            You guys are great, I'll go and make up to hubby now before he finds this thread .

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              [QUOTE]
                              Originally posted by Lieslot View Post
                              Tamara, I didn't realize a testing is that cheap.
                              forage testing is a lot like buying a car...they love to "offer" you add ons that you just don't need,but you think you need so you run with it...

                              Tamara in TN
                              Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                              I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I'm sure it must be terrible and awful hay. So much so that I'll be happy to drive up, collect it all, and dispose of it in a proper environmentally sound fashion. All at no charge.
                                "Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple Barry Switzer

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I think people have often said it isn't always best for horses because it is too rich for some and might need to be mixed so they have enough hay to munch on over a period of time.
                                  http://community.webshots.com/user/jenn52318

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I'll take it. 3rd/4th cuttings BEST for horses, cures easily and little spoilage. Some weeds, etc.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      2nd and 3rd cuttings are more likely to be closer to each other, with 1st and 4th being potentially very different. 4th cutting could easily be too rich for some horses.
                                      ______________________________
                                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        My supplier grows, cuts and sells good quality timothy/orchard grass hay and he sometimes will get a third cutting. Kind of goes by the weather here. H'es started second cut now. His second cut is usually finer stemmed and smells wonderful. It can be richer,, although I've never had it tested. I usually get enough of it to mix in with the first cut in the winter. We call it 'ice cream hay"- dessert! Just an added treat when it's cold and snowy. Give hubby a hug and say" thank you- please get me more."

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